Image: Dream Chaser buffet wind tunnel model

May 08, 2012
Credit: NASA EDGE/Ron Beard

(Phys.org) -- The Dream Chaser model with its Atlas V launch vehicle is undergoing final preparations at the Aerospace Composite Model Development Section's workshop for buffet tests at the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel at NASA Langley. The scale model is being tested as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development program to regain the American capability to launch astronauts safely to the International Space Station. The lifting body reusable spacecraft would carry as many as seven astronauts to the space station. Sierra Nevada Space Systems is developing the craft under a Space Act Agreement with NASA.

With the help of hundreds of pressure transducers, engineers from , the United Launch Alliance and NASA Langley will look at the pressure fluctuations the model and launch vehicle stack experience during the critical ascent to orbit, especially at transonic speeds. Shock-waves form on launch vehicles as they approach the speed of sound and may result in regions of highly unsteady flow.

Within these regions of the and launch vehicle, the resulting buffet forces and high frequency acoustic noise must be clearly understood as part of the vehicle design process. Transonic wind-tunnel testing of large, highly instrumented scale models is the only method of determining the buffet environments of launch vehicles with complex shapes.

Explore further: Virgin crash sets back space tourism by years: experts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Tests Launch Abort System At Supersonic Speeds

Jul 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Aerospace engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center are conducting a series of wind tunnel tests to develop technology for future human space exploration. Using a six percent scale Orion model, ...

NASA inks agreement with maker of Atlas V rocket

Jul 19, 2011

NASA said Monday that it had reached an agreement with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to try to adopt the Atlas V commercial rocket to send astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX, NASA readies for April 30 launch to ISS

Mar 20, 2012

Preparations for the April 30 launch of the SpaceX's Dragon commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station are underway without major problems, a top NASA official said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

China completes first mission to moon and back

10 hours ago

China completed its first return mission to the moon early Saturday with the successful re-entry and landing of an unmanned probe, state media reported, in the latest step forward for Beijing's ambitious ...

Tracking a gigantic sunspot across the Sun

11 hours ago

An active region on the sun – an area of intense and complex magnetic fields – rotated into view on Oct. 18, 2014. Labeled AR 12192, it soon grew into the largest such region in 24 years, and fired off ...

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

Oct 30, 2014

(Phys.org) —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) May 08, 2012
And do what when they get to the ISS? Float around and blow bubbles?

ISS is pretty much worthless other than as a fabricated reason for flying shuttles.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.